The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Clovis High pair commits

Piepkorn, Langrell verbally agree to play for Division II Newman


January 11, 2018

Tony Bullocks

Jace Piepkorn, left, and Connor Langrell both made verbal commitments to play baseball next year at Newman University. Piepkorn is the Wildcats' primary catcher, while Langrell is expected to play shortstop and pitch this upcoming season.

CLOVIS — For Jace Piepkorn and Connor Langrell, being teammates won't end when the two take off their Wildcat purple a few months from now.

They'll both move on to be Jets, as the pair have verbally committed to Zane Ehling's program at Division II Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, for the 2019 season.

Langrell, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound pitcher and shortstop, and Piepkorn, a 6-foot, 175-pound catcher, cannot officially sign with a college program until April 11 by NCAA rules. They are not bound to any commitment without signing a letter of intent.

Both had offers already from Luna Community College — coached by former Clovis assistant T.C. Nusser — while Langrell had also considered St. Andrew's (North Carolina), Limestone and Coker (South Carolina).

"I'm excited for those guys," Clovis baseball coach Richard Cruce said. "They've put in the work to get there, and they deserve it. Defensively, Jace is probably one of the two or best three catchers in the state. Connor's grown a lot since he began. We didn't know what we were going to get when we put him on the mound last year, and he proved to be one of our workhorses."

They'll be joining a Jets squad that finished 2017 with a 21-28 record, including an 8-16 mark in the Heartland Conference. Ehling is 188-193 entering his ninth season, and has taken the Jets to the Heartland tournament in two of the last six seasons.

Piepkorn, who was never really sure if he'd have a chance to play college baseball, said Ehling sold his program while making sure there was no buyer's remorse.

"He told me if I can get a better offer," Piepkorn said, "I could drop this offer with no hard feelings. I can just come in this year, not feel the pressure."

For Langrell, who envisions he'll play some infield and do some relieving, the schooling proved a big draw.

"Wichita is a great place, and it's a bigger city," Langrell said. "It has a great program for what I want to major in (business). It seemed like a place I could spend at least four years."

Piepkorn said he wants to improve his hitting, and become a better leader on and off the field, while Langrell said he's trying to gain a little more muscle and speed in his senior season.


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